Danish dairy co-operative Arla Foods is investing DKK 50 million (approximately $8.2 million) into the expansion of a local cheese production facility, in order to meet increasing cheese demand from Japan.

Arla is embarking on a project at its site in Troldhede Dairy, West Jutland – its home market – and plans to build two new ripening warehouses, install new cheese equipment and a new drainage room.

The expansion will result in a new production method that Arla says will ensure its long-lasting cheeses remain even fresher and softer once unpacked in Japan.

Troldhede Dairy produces several types of cheeses such as Castello Brie and Camembert, and mainly exports to Japan, Australia, UK and Nordic countries. Arla shifted production of its Castello cheese to the larger dairy in Troldhede a few years ago.

“[The investment] offers completely new opportunities in the production of long-lasting cheese,” said Torben Pradsgaard, director of Troldhede Dairy.

Arla says the redevelopment will result in increased efficiency, while also becoming more sustainable with electricity and water savings.

Following the expansion, Arla expects around 2,000 tonnes of cheese to be sold to Japan each year, up from its current 1,200 tonnes.

Morten Rønberg, category director for cheese at Arla Foods, said: “The Japanese have a billion-euro market for cheese, which is probably surprising to many. But they have a high standard of living and want to pay a good price for a good product.

“And at the same time, they are trendsetters for southeast Asia. Therefore, we hope that the enthusiasm for the cheeses will increase and that we will be able to sell even more in a few years.”

Despite increased efficiency, Arla expects the production plant to maintain the same number of employees – 140. The expansion is expected to be completed by mid-2023.